The purpose of the Four Volumes project is biblical literacy.
Like the project of Biblical Theology, our goal is to understand the teaching of the Bible in its own terms. In a day when we want quick answers, the Bible is studied for the sake of constructing a particular theological, behavioral, ethical, moral, or apologetic system. And so the Bible is used not for the sake of the story it tells on its own but rather for the sake of these particular ways of applying it. And while applying the biblical message in these ways for life in today’s world is a laudable and necessary endeavor, it is ultimately misguided if we don’t understand the story the Bible tells on its own language.
The project of biblical literacy, then, boils down, first, to knowing the Bible. We want to learn the facts, the words, the stories, the details, the patterns, the rituals, the chronology, the symbols, the songs, the types, everything. We want to think the Bible’s thoughts after it because in doing so we think its Author’s thoughts after Him. Thus, the project includes chapter content, overviews of the books of the Bible chapter by chapter. Viewed in this way, we are not left with the decision about what chapters, stories, and descriptions are important enough to learn and what are not. Additionally, and more thoroughly, the project includes a pursuit of every little detail. Many details existed in these ancient times that we are not told. The ones we are told, then, are important. This is not a mere pursuit of minutiae; rather it is a pursuit of a fully-orbed Biblical worldview.
Second, the project of biblical literacy is pedagogical; that is, it is focused on teaching and learning. All the information in the Bible is important to know, and so we should learn it. Of course, some information is most essential for salvation and for basic definition of Christian thought. However, our desire is to move beyond the milk of the essentials and to pursue the details. And we want not just to discover them and to talk about them but also to learn, remember, and teach them. Thus, the project is sought to be “practical,” which is not to say easy but which is to say learnable. The question-answer methodology lends itself to this learning.
So much of life in this world can be recovered by a deeper knowledge of the Bible. Part of our task of dominion is to search out matters that God has hidden in His word. And when we do so, we increase our capacity for life, experience, beauty, and joy in our God. Ultimately, this is our desire.
My name is Joe Hyink, and I live in Woodinville, WA with my wife and eight children. I studied Teaching English as a Second Language at Bob Jones University as well as graduate work in Bible. I have taught English and Bible at a local Christian school and still coach the speech and debate team there. In our home we especially love music, and when several of the kids are not practicing their string instrument or the piano, we usually are listening to some great music.